STEM for Endangered Animals
Activate Year 7-8 students’ STEM skills by designing new nesting boxes for endangered possums and parrots.
The Leadbeater’s Possum lives in forests close to Melbourne. Each year, the Orange-bellied Parrot flies from Tasmania to Victoria. Innovation is key to the survival of these endangered animals.
In this program, Year 7-8 students will help Healesville Sanctuary scientists design new nest box designs for these possums and parrots. Students will conduct research to build their science and technology understanding. They will work in teams to choose an idea to prototype. This program uses an engineering framework called Design Thinking and you don't need any special materials.
Students will learn:
- Australian animal adaptations and classification
- How scientists use STEM to protect animals in the wild
- STEM skills, such as scientific observation and Design Thinking
- How to use creative thinking skills to solve a complicated problem
Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity before their Healesville Sanctuary visit. Read through the Design Brief with students to introduce them to the big challenge.
Connect and Understand
Students will conduct research and use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding of Australian animals and nesting boxes.
Your Sanctuary visit will include: A Welcome (for arrivals between 9:50am-10:10am), a Healesville Sanctuary Teacher workshop (40 minutes), Spirits of the Sky presentation and keeper talks. Check out your Teaching Guide for other ideas of what to do at the Sanctuary.
Use activities in the Teaching Guide to deepen students’ learning back at school.
Use the Teaching Guide to bring design ideas to life and enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts.
Program maps and itineraries
Digital maps will be provided to you on the day.
Victorian Curriculum 7-8
Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (VCSSU090)
- Students will learn how Recovery Team scientists find solutions that increase the welfare of endangered animals in the wild
There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)
- Students will learn about what the classification of Leadbeater's Possums and Swift Parrots
Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD050)
- Students will use Design Thinking to generate, grow and test their ideas for animal conservation
Consider how problems can be segmented into discrete stages, new knowledge synthesised during problem-solving and criteria used to assess emerging ideas and proposals (VCCCTM042)
- Students will develop their problem-solving, critical and creative thinking skills throughout the Design Thinking process.
Plan your excursion
STEM for Endangered Animals is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection.
Bring what students need to record their research e.g. notes, drawings, photographs, videos, voice memos, diagrams.
School groups will enter Healesville Sanctuary via the Main Entrance. Organising teachers please check in with our Admissions team upon arrival. More information.
All onsite excursion bookings are subject to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and as such are subject to change in line with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s advice. We will be in contact with all teachers prior to their booked date if we need to clarify any new requirements. See the COVID-Safe information for schools before your visit.
Book your education experience
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You will need to know the following to book your zoo excursion or online workshop:
- Education program of your choice (if applicable)
- Preferred date
- School name and address
- Contact details of organising teacher
- Number of students/classes and their year level